Nearly half of Anderson Hardwood Floors' plant in Clinton, S.C. was destroyed by fire Tuesday evening. No employees were hurt in the blaze, but a firefighter was treated for shortness of breath. Company president Don Finkell said the fire, which was discovered at about 7:15 pm by an employee, destroyed the veneer grading, pressing and panel sawing areas. No employees were injured.

The local fire department responded as about 65 employees made an orderly evacuation from the plant. Finkell said the efforts of firefighters and favorable winds prevented the fire from spreading to the entire plant. "We lost about 40 percent of the site," said Finkell, "The boiler, machining and finishing lines are unscathed. Fortunately, we have duplicate operations for the ones we lost."

Finkell added that order entry and shipping operations are expected to continue without delay from the company's new Simpsonville, S.C., Design Center. The company's fiber-optic cable was burned in the fire, but will be repaired shortly, according to the company. Neither the administrative offices nor the computer system were damaged.

"We will be able to shift our production to our Tyger River plant to offset the loss of capacity in Clinton," Finkell said. "The undamaged portion of the Clinton site will be back in operation on Monday, Oct. 16," according to the company.

In 1954, fire completely destroyed the plant operated by Andy and Bob Anderson. The facility was re-opened in 90 days. The incident prompted Anderson to create "a culture of disaster preparedness." Finkell said the procedures put in place will enable the company to rebound from Tuesday's fire with "minimal effect on our business."